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I recently discovered an interesting design pattern for a responsive design. Instead of collapsing the navigation and show it on click/tap, the navigation 'is there' the whole time in the footer and can simply be accessed by using a jump link.

Example: http://contentsmagazine.com (play with the window size).

While I think one big downside of this pattern is the fact that the user can't access the menu at every time, I still love the that solution for it's simplicity.
I am even thinking of implementing something similar in one of the projects I am working on because of the really tight schedule.

But of course, I don't want to slaughter the user experience because I am under pressure, so what do you think – is this pattern alright to use? Can you think of any other downsides here besides the menu access (that shouldn't be too hard to solve, thinking fixed header)?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

The pattern is OK, but an anchor link is a jarring experience for a button that indicates "navigation". I do like having the navigation on the bottom of every page because it emphasizes content over navigation on smaller screens. There are pros and cons to the solution, but I wouldn't use it.

Some quotes I found about this method:

"Anchor jump can be awkward/disorienting – Quickly jumping to the footer of the site can be a bit disorientating." - Brad Frost

"On the Web, users have a clear mental model for a hypertext link: it should bring up a new page. Within-page links violate this model and thus cause confusion." - Jakob Nielsen

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Thanks for your answer! The quotes really helped me. But regarding the anchor: If I would use an icon that clearly indicates 'menu' (may it be a hamburger or grid icon), do you think Nielsen's quote still applies? I mean, actually the user is informed where he is being transferred to. –  Sven Nov 7 '13 at 21:21
    
Think of this way: if you were to ask a user what they'd expect from the menu button they'd probably say "the menu will appear". The anchor link option may match their expectation, but a link should provide immediate feedback (i.e., menu) or open a new page. If you are constrained by time and budget then it is OK to launch with the anchor link. You can defend your decision by saying your option still meets the basic user need and it's within scope. It's like you are launching with a MVP (minimum viable product) and — in time — you may be able to go back and create a more elegant solution. –  usingtheinternet Nov 7 '13 at 22:51
    
By the way, good luck! –  usingtheinternet Nov 7 '13 at 22:56
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Ah thank you so much! The MVP comparison made it clear to me! –  Sven Nov 8 '13 at 19:19

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